European governments urge Israel to halt settlement

photo: Twitter

The governments of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom on Friday urged Israeli government to reverse its decision to advance the construction of 540 settlement units in the Har Homa E area of the occupied West Bank.

The move come after Palestinian activists ran a campaign to expose the ‘brutal occupation’ by Israeli settlers in Sheikh Jarrah. Visuals of Israel army using weapons against Palestinians including women and children received wide condemnation.

In a joint statement, the five governments said, “We urge the Government of Israel to reverse its decision to advance the construction of 540 settlement units in the Har Homa E area of the occupied West Bank, and to cease its policy of settlement expansion across the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Settlements are illegal under international law, and threaten prospects for a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

“Last night Israeli forces raided homes of Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah in Jerusalem & assaulted, tear gassed and arrested some of the young men. The families are facing forced displacement from their homes on Thursday where Jewish settlers will take over,” Palestinian activist Linah Alsaafin tweeted.

In December, the EU issued a statement opposing Israel’s plan to “put all families at imminent risk of forced transfer”.

Since the beginning of 2020, Israeli courts have ordered the eviction of 13 Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah, a residential area less than a kilometre away from the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem.

“If implemented, the decision to advance settlements in Har Homa, between East Jerusalem and Bethlehem, will cause further damage to the prospects for a viable Palestinian State, with Jerusalem as the capital of both Israel and a Palestinian State,” added the statement.

“This move, alongside settlement advancement in Givat HaMatos and continued evictions in East Jerusalem, including in Sheikh Jarrah, also undermines efforts to rebuild trust between the parties, following the positive resumption of Israeli-Palestinian cooperation.””We call on both sides to refrain from any unilateral action and resume a credible and meaningful dialogue, to advance efforts for the two state solution and an end to the conflict.”